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3 runs in 8th doom Chicago Cubs
During the eighth inning Tuesday in the Cubs' 6-2 loss to San Francisco, boos rained down on reliever Jeff Samardzija.
It was really no different than the booing that greeted Derrek Lee, Milton Bradley, Kevin Gregg, Neal Cotts or several other Cubs at Wrigley Field in the first month of the 2009 season, but it's obviously more than a passing trend.
"They have their sights on something bigger, so they don't have a lot of patience right now," Lee said. "I don't think it's something we worry ourselves about. They're free to do what they want to do. So we'll just play the best we can."
Giants ace Tim Lincecum snapped the Cubs' four-game winning streak, and their homestand ends with a 4-2 record. With things picking up, is it fair to boo every time a player has a bad game?
"Does it matter?" Lee said "They're allowed to boo. I don't think Samardzija is going to lose any sleep over it. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it."
The thing manager Lou Piniella is losing sleep over is the inconsistent hitting of his team. He started a patchwork lineup against Lincecum, hoping to find magic with Aramis Ramirez, Bradley, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot on the bench.
"It's not good for me [to sit] when I'm 100 percent healthy," Soriano said. "It's tough for me to watch the game."
A crowd of 39,497 could empathize because Tuesday's game was tough for everyone to watch. The Cubs scratched out a pair of runs on four hits off Lincecum, but Sean Marshall served up a three-run homer to Bengie Molina in the first inning, and the Giants added three in the eighth off Marshall and Samardzija.
"It was a tough game," Marshall said. "We fell apart in the eighth inning. But I think we'll be just fine."
Piniella's bench was much stronger than his starting lineup, but he opted to rest Soriano and Theriot for the first time, while also resting Ramirez and Bradley, who have combined to make only 25 starts between them because of injuries.
"I said I was going have to rest this team, and that's exactly what we're doing," Piniella said. "Today the bullpen just didn't hold the game in check. Samardzija, he needs to work on his second and third pitches. It's hard to pitch up here with a fastball only."
Samardzija was brought up from Triple-A Iowa to complement Aaron Heilman as the bridge to setup man Carlos Marmol, but he hasn't been able to fill the void.
"We've had difficulties [there]," Piniella said. "And I said coming out of spring training that would be a big part of our bullpen."
The Cubs relief corps ranks 13th in the National League with a 4.83 earned-run average, including 5.25 from Marmol and 4.97 from Gregg. Piniella said before the game that neither would be used Tuesday because of their heavy workload recently.
"They've pitched in five out of six games," Piniella said. "It's early in the season. There's no sense in pushing the envelope too much, and we're not going to do it."